Improve Your Guitar Solos in 11 Minutes!!

For this article a few points how to improve your solos, which I back up with the uploaded video.
The video is not about how to play some of the riffs and ideas I play here, it is more about your approach, and the kind of ideas you can use in imrove your own solos.

The first idea I use is Chordtones: Whenever you play over a song find out first what the chords are. It may also be a good idea to play the rhythm guitar part of the song you want to play solos over. Good solos come from understanding and being able to play rhythm well. It all starts with the groove, check out those chords first, get to known what tones are in each chord, find out where those notes are on the fretboard, and start making melodic ideas with those tones.
Broken chords are called arpeggios, it is possible to play all your solos in arpeggios. It will give your solos are certain sound, but it is worth working on this approach. It will also help you to get to known the fretboard much better, which is a must for all guitarplaying really.

The second idea I use is Scaletones: To get more variation in your sound you can mix the chordtones with scaletones. Play your scaletones over the song you want to play, to check how they sound. Some of the scaletones may not sound good, but if you mix them well with your chordtones you may get some great results.
Work with the scalepatterns you know and check out different scales to find out about different musical flavours: Each scale has its own sound, over time you will learn what you like and works well in the songs you want to play your solos over.

The third idea I use is Melodic Phrases and Ideas: Try to sing musical ideas over the song you want to play. Once you can sing some ideas try to find those ideas on the neck of your guitar. Singing ideas will improve your solos, it will also free you up and get you out of: “What Kind of Scale Do I Need to Use For This Song” mentality. Once you get comfortable with this approach you will never be stuck for ideas. If you cannot hear anything to sing you can always fall back on your scalepatterns!

The fourth idea I use is Rhythm: Try playing your scales with 1 note on the beat, then play two notes on one beat, then try playing on the off-beat of the rhythm. Try also to hold on for one note for a while. Do not be afraid of the space this will create. Music is all about space, harmony and tension. If you play all the time you may want to create some space. A lot of this will depend on the style of music you play, but a lot of possible. Try to practise first with a metronome (or drummachine) to see if you can keep time, also try to hear what the effect is of playing these different rhythms. You can clap the beats while your song is playing, so you can hear the rythmic effect of the beats you are going for.

The Fifth idea I use is Double Stops: Double stops are basically small parts of chords—you can harmonise a scale with all the intervals available Maj. 3rds, Perfect 4ths Perfect 5ths ect—–  Try to play a scale by using powerchords. Most of you will known what powerchords are and what they look like. Just play first scaletone and put a 5th underneath it. Two tones will do for your powerchord. Play whole scale in this way and you will be there. Now try playing some solos in this way. You probably end up playing a handful of riffs, but that is a start. Keep at it, and try also some other intervals to get more variation in your sound.

Just keep working on some of those ideas and after a while you will start to notice a different in your sound.

See you soon,


Eddie de Hamer Plays Rockin’ Machine on Acoustic Guitar

I play this song on acoustic guitar.

First attempt was false start, yes it does happen from time to time:

Here is the full version without any mistakes appart from slight hesitation, which will only bother Radio 4 listeners:

Here a link to full band version:

Was working out on the spot how to get a good sound with the two guitars, anyway……………….and we all need to still learn how to harmonize. If I only could sing the same harmonies each time.

Another link here to better verion of “You”: but as you can hear, it only does contain two versers and then……………..oh well, next time we will get a proper recording engineer who will man the machines.
Ah well, next time better as they say.
There are a lot more songs to come, and hopefully they will be full versions…………….. stay tune if you like ’em.

New Recent Rehearsal Recordings Uploaded

Since the last few months been playing with some new people to play some of my songs. All the songs you hear are recent. More recordings will be added over time.
All of these recordings are rough, including mistakes, talking, coughing ect. Things you would expect from a rehearsalroom recording.

There will be better, quality, recordings, but for now it will be just basic recordings which display some of the songs.

Here is a link to a better recording of “You’re So Easy”:   Similar rehearsal, recorded on different device giving different results.

Hope to see you soon again,

Songwriting Tip: Keep Your left-Over Parts

When you are creating your songs you may have some parts which do not work for the song you are working on. What to do? Leave it out! But you may want to keep that part for another song, especially for those of you who find it hard to come up with  new music. Some of those parts may work very well on their own, you may be able to create a new song around that part.

Some of you may be so happy with all these parts that you may feel you need to use all you have created, but be careful: A song which contains too many parts may become cluttered and may loose its original meaning.
Listen to some songs you like to see how many parts those songs have to get an idea.

Once you have all your parts together it is time to ask youself how often to play certain parts: Should you repeat a bridge a few times or just go back to the chorus and finish the song?. Again, these are matters which depend on the song and you own perception of what you want the song to do. Often playing a song over and over again in various orders may help you to see what kind of order works for you song.

Enjoy your writing and hope to see you soon again,

Beginners and Open Chords: Use Capo at Fifth Fret!!

For this article a few ideas how beginners can improve the sound of their open chords.

It is a common problem for beginners not to be able to get a good, clear sound from some of the open chords. Usually G and Em proof not to be much of a problem whereas C, Dm and Bm cause issues: Often strings will not ring out and the overal sound of the chord is not clear.
Most of these problems are related to the angle of the wrist in relation to the neck of the guitar: The straigher the wrist can be the easier it is for the student to play the chord.
Using a Capo at higher positions of the fretboard (for example 5th Fret) will improve matters.

Once you can play most of the open chords without too much struggle, try the capo in lower postions such as 3rd Fret and see how this feels. After a while go back to the open position without using a Capo to find out if your chords now do sound any better.

  Playing at Higher Postions Only For Beginners?

No, often intermediate students only use certains areas of the fretboard, try playing more in the 12th postion and above this area. Usually this is easier on electric guitars. If you have not played much in this area you will feel you may need a bit of practise to get the sound of your playing better. Why is this? Similar as for reason mentioned above: The angle of the wrist is diffferent, therefore it feels different. Work on it so you get as smooth as playing in the 5th position (the easiest position to the play the guitar!)

Playing in higher positions is useful to extend the range of your solos and melodic ideas: You can start playing in the lower postions while ending up in the higher positions. Listen to Slash of Guns ‘n’ Roses. A lot of his solos use these kind of ideas. Ideally you want to use the whole fretboard without having any trouble.

See you later,

Playing Covers on Acoustic Guitar

For this article a short brief about how to approach playing covers on your own on acoustic (or electric) guitar.

When students bring in coversongs for me to work out, they often get exhited about the sound of the song, the sound around the chords, the basslines, the drums, the production ect.
How well can you copy that sound on your own on one guitar? Well that is the trick: Being aware what creates the sound of the song is a must. Some songs can be translated to just one single guitar and they hold their strength, the song is still there and sounds as good as when performed with a band. Other songs may need to be adapted to sound good on their own.
Here a short breakdown what you can do:

   ~ Before You Play:

Listen carefully to the song, play it several times. Can you hum the melody, the intro, the riffs? Do they sound good on their own? If the answer is yes, you have a strong song in your hands which probably will sound good when played on one guitar. If the answer is no, think again about this song. Is this something you should play on your own? Ask yourself what it is you like about this song. Is it the melody, or is it the interplay between the different instruments? Find out what it is you like about the song, and find out if this can be played on one guitar.

Songs which have their bases on a bandsound can still be played on one guitar, but they may need a bit of work to get them to sound good. Maybe these songs should be left for later when you get more experienced.

   ~ Playing the Song:

Okay, now that you have found your song which can be played on one guitar we are in business: You can play the chords of the song and sing the melody of the song and it should sound like……………the song you liked. Well does it? What about the rhythm? How should I strum the song? Should I strum at all or rather pick the chords? To answer these questions go back again to the original song, listen carefully to how the song is being played. Then play the song on your own and see how close your version is compared to the recorded version you have chosen.
If you are not sure about the stumpattern, try to break the strums down to a bacic version like four strums to a bar or two strums to a bar ect. Try to avoid strumming the off-beats, as this will confuse the rhythm if you are not sure about the strumpattern. Just use downstrums for now. Work on the strums until you start to feel comfortable, experiment a little and let it grown.

  ~ Can Play the Song, What Now?

Right, so you can hold the rhythm of the song, sing melody and the whole thing actually sounds like the song, but it still sounds…………..basic?
Try to experiment with chordshapes, try different shapes compared to the ones you have been using so far: If you used open chords, try some barre-chords. If you used 6 string chords, try 3 string chords ect. Find chords which will work. Changes are, when you start using different chordshapes it will open you up to playing the song differently, using little riffs here and there ect. Keep at it unitil you find yourself playing a version of the song which works for you, and is at the same time a version you actually like.
Takes time? Yes, if you are new to this it will take time, but it is worth it, your playing will develop and you will also grow as a musician. Your next cover will never sound the same again.

Hope to see you soon again,

Improve you Guitar Solos: Sing Your Licks and Melodies!!

Do you feel you often play the same melodic ideas based on the handful of scalepatterns you know? Okay for this article some ideas which may help you how to get out of that rut.

Before you even think about scales try this: Sing a note, just one note, now find this note on the neck of your guitar. Try now finding that same note in different place. You may find about 4 of them.

Now add more notes to that note you sang before. Turn these notes into a small melody.

Next step: Find that melody on your guitarneck and play it.

Once you have this melody, now find the same melody in different places on the fretboard, and heh presto, you can now play one melody in different place.

Try now adding more notes to this melody. Turn it something you could use for a solo.

While you were doing this, did you think of scales? Probably not. Do this as often as you can, then start looking at your scalepatterns again and you chordfingerings. Hopefully, at some point, something starts to click………..

For more ideas listen to Paul Gilbert’s ideas on this subject.

Have fun and see you soon again,

Songwriting and Initial Inspiration

How to get yourself into the mood for creating songs?
For this article some ideas which may help you to get into the zone.

Songwriting is not something which happens overnight, it is a skill which is learned over time. By writing songs you get better, it is very much a hands on skill.
For this article I will mainly deal with inspiration, I will not go into technical detail about the actual writing as that is material for other articles. 

    Songwriters are not born:

Agree? It is a skill you develop overtime and anyone, with an interest in the subject, can learn these skills.

As a writer you need material to write (or talk) about. Where does that material come from? Good question, anywhere really. It depends on your personality, you own likes, how you are as a person ect.
If you are interested in politics you could write songs about politicians, their behaviour and their impact on the lives of ordinary people. You could write songs about your Mum and Dad (everyone had one pair of them once in their lives………) You could write songs about your cat, dog, goldfish.
You see what I mean? You can take any subject matter. Find something you are passionate about and brainstrom for a while, write down anything which comes to mind about that subjectmatter. Once you have enough ideas, try to create a story (or poem) around these ideas. Keep it short and try to use day to day language as much as possible. 

   From Lyrics to Music:

Let us say you have a short story, poem, or set of ideas for your lyrics, now comes the time to find a melody and set of chords where this melody can roam and breath. How to you find these?
This is where more choices come around the corner.
Let me first ask you some questions before we go any further: Do you like playing acoustic guitar or electric? Oh I hear you, you like both! Please make a choise, make it easy on yourself for now. Do you sing? Probably, but you may not see yourself as a singer. Howelse could you be interested in songwriting? Someone has to sing the ideas you have in your head! So you are the first choice today!.

Okay, so we go for acoustic guitar now: Grab some chords and play them, find yourself a nice groove and just play, play as long as you need to until you find something to sing.

Singing? Well, you can hum to get melodic ideas going over your chords. Just hum whatever you can hear.
We have all heard the story about  “Yesterday” and boiled eggs?: Paul McCartney just sang whatever words came to mind to fit his melody of “Yesterday”. By doing this you open yourself up for more lyrical ideas.
In case you are happy with the lyrics you have made before you can try singing those Do they work?
All  you need to do is get those words to fit over the melody you have just made. Because you are the creator of this unique song you cannot make any mistakes here: How can you be against your own ideas??
Of course, once you have a melody and lyrics you may want to edit,  to make the whole idea sound better. Changes are you will need to do this to  improve upon your song, but for now try to get a complete picture of your lyrics and melody, and once you are happy start editing to improve the idea. 

    What about Electric Guitar?

The process describe above could easily be repeated for the electric guitar, but why not make the electric guitar really sound electric: Use your most outragious sounding distortion to get a killer sound from your amp, now start riffing and see what happens. These dirty riffs may give you songideas you may have never thought about if would have stuck to the acoustic guitar.
You can loop these riffs with a sampler, put them into a chordstructure you play on the acoustic, in this way you combine electric and acoustic guitar into one songsetting.
As you can imagine, the options you have are limitless, the only limit is your own imagination.

     Choices and Goals:

As you can see from the above, the clearer you can be in your choices, the easier it will be to get satisfying, musical results. If you are new to writing I would just stick to one way of working, see if you can get some songs out of you before you make the whole process more complex than what it needs to be.
Over time you will try lots of ways, as this is how songwriters develop their skill.

In this short article I only highlighted some ideas you can use. Use it as a starting point for your own imagination and try to enjoy as much whatever you get into musically. 

Hope to see you soon for more guitar inspiration.

Learn to Play and Develop Basic Swamp Blues Progression For Guitar

For this article we learn to play a basic blues progression which was also used by the likes of the Doors.
The chords are very easy, the first line contains E, G and A, the second line of chords uses A, C and D.
As you watch the video you can see how you can build upon the sequence to develop it into a fuller sound.

Ceck out one of the previous articles about slide playing and see if you can incorporate some of those ideas into your own style of playing.

Enjoy for now, and hope to see you soon again.